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Old 29th January 2009, 18:14   #1
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Exclamation How to ascertain purity of Diesel

I had driven to Anand over the 24-26 Jan weekend. Iceberg (my Arctic White Dzire) drank half a tank to reach there from Mumbai (i.e. 19.2 kmpl). In Mumbai I fill only at domestic airport IOCL COCO outlet. X-tra Premium is what Iceberg likes. In Anand I decided to refill and was not sure which petrol bunk to go to. The air smells of kerosene in Anand, thanks to all the autos running on kerosene. Not sure if they knowingly do it or the petrol pumps mix kerosene liberally.

In the 6D6KGQ thread, the Fab Five had mentioned about rampant adultration in diesel. I checked at quite a few petrol pumps (IOC, HP, BP) but none agreed to let me check the specific gravity of the diesel. My olfactory glands not so evolved to smell kerosene from diesel from a dispenser. Finally I found a club HP pump 20 KM on Ahmedabad highway (NH8) where the manager agreed to let me do a specific gravity test. They dispensed 500ml in a measuring flask. Reminded me of my chemistry practicals last done more than 15 yrs ago. Then the sample's temperature was measured using a mercury thermometer and specific gravity was measured using a lactometer kind of device. Temp - 28 deg celcius and SP 21 (I dont remember exactly). A book provided by HP was referred to, which had a table giving the density of diesel at given temp and SP reading. For the readings collected the density should have been 19.2 (again I could be wrong in quoting the figures as my interest was more in the process than the readings). Then they showed me a register which had three columns per day and the given density figure was already written in the last column. They told me that this is a register they maintain to record the purity of diesel. The HP officials check this register.

I was so excited as the process went and the end was such a big let down. I expected that the process will give results the way one measures purity of milk or temperature or some similar thing. But here I had a table to refer to and the written register record to match. Not convincing at all. Checking purity of petrol is much easier (the filter paper test).

I realised that there was no way I could establish the purity but at least the team at the petrol pump was cooperative and confident in letting me do the check. Iceberg drank a brimful of turbojet and we moved on. Got 19.2 kmpl on way back - 4 adults, half filled boot.

Need help on understanding the process of checking the purity of diesel. How do I ascertain I am getting good quality fuel? I plan to drive lots on highways with my new car so I better know about how to identify adultrated diesel. HELP!!
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Old 29th January 2009, 22:01   #2
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वहम का इलाज़ हकीम लुकमान के पास भी नही था. If you start looking for all this then you'll keep on racking your brain always about this and be stressed.

Just find a big decent pump and fill. That's what I do on my highway jaunts...

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Originally Posted by dushmish View Post
I had driven to Anand over the 24-26 Jan weekend. Iceberg (my Arctic White Dzire) drank half a tank to reach there from Mumbai (i.e. 19.2 kmpl). In Mumbai I fill only at domestic airport IOCL COCO outlet. X-tra Premium is what Iceberg likes. In Anand I decided to refill and was not sure which petrol bunk to go to. The air smells of kerosene in Anand, thanks to all the autos running on kerosene. Not sure if they knowingly do it or the petrol pumps mix kerosene liberally.

In the 6D6KGQ thread, the Fab Five had mentioned about rampant adultration in diesel. I checked at quite a few petrol pumps (IOC, HP, BP) but none agreed to let me check the specific gravity of the diesel. My olfactory glands not so evolved to smell kerosene from diesel from a dispenser. Finally I found a club HP pump 20 KM on Ahmedabad highway (NH8) where the manager agreed to let me do a specific gravity test. They dispensed 500ml in a measuring flask. Reminded me of my chemistry practicals last done more than 15 yrs ago. Then the sample's temperature was measured using a mercury thermometer and specific gravity was measured using a lactometer kind of device. Temp - 28 deg celcius and SP 21 (I dont remember exactly). A book provided by HP was referred to, which had a table giving the density of diesel at given temp and SP reading. For the readings collected the density should have been 19.2 (again I could be wrong in quoting the figures as my interest was more in the process than the readings). Then they showed me a register which had three columns per day and the given density figure was already written in the last column. They told me that this is a register they maintain to record the purity of diesel. The HP officials check this register.

I was so excited as the process went and the end was such a big let down. I expected that the process will give results the way one measures purity of milk or temperature or some similar thing. But here I had a table to refer to and the written register record to match. Not convincing at all. Checking purity of petrol is much easier (the filter paper test).

I realised that there was no way I could establish the purity but at least the team at the petrol pump was cooperative and confident in letting me do the check. Iceberg drank a brimful of turbojet and we moved on. Got 19.2 kmpl on way back - 4 adults, half filled boot.

Need help on understanding the process of checking the purity of diesel. How do I ascertain I am getting good quality fuel? I plan to drive lots on highways with my new car so I better know about how to identify adultrated diesel. HELP!!
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Old 30th January 2009, 10:09   #3
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Thanks gd1418!

Its not about 'vaham'. Its about knowing how to check. In the twenty years of driving I have never checked the purity of petrol. I trusted the petrol pumps and ended up having water at times or sludge in the carburattor. But this never got me to check the purity. Its easier to change petrol pumps. I just want to learn how the process works. How do the petroleum companies ascertain the purity and how can the customers do it.
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Old 30th January 2009, 11:15   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dushmish View Post
Thanks gd1418!

Its not about 'vaham'. Its about knowing how to check. In the twenty years of driving I have never checked the purity of petrol. I trusted the petrol pumps and ended up having water at times or sludge in the carburattor. But this never got me to check the purity. Its easier to change petrol pumps. I just want to learn how the process works. How do the petroleum companies ascertain the purity and how can the customers do it.
Many times on my highway trips I have had to pay for my mistake by having to stop and maually clear the filter of water or stufflike that , and performance degradation is also very evident. So now i stop only at pump where i find trucks lining up for fuelling and also at Club HP pumps which are e-fuel pumups you can differenciate them by the bright red matrix displays on the pillars displaying the current desity of the fuel being dispensed.
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Old 30th January 2009, 13:09   #5
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Originally Posted by hellstar View Post
at Club HP pumps which are e-fuel pumups you can differenciate them by the bright red matrix displays on the pillars displaying the current desity of the fuel being dispensed.
Thanks Hellstar! that was informative. Am still waiting for someone to explain how can adultration be checked. Following where Trucks refuel is a good idea but not the best one. All pumps get trucks at some time or other
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Old 30th January 2009, 16:22   #6
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measure specific gravity of diesel sample using a hydrometer , note ambient temperature, based on these two parameters calculate density of diesel sample and compare value with any available reference(table /chart or hand book) .

adulteration of any kind alters the density , so checking the density is the only way to find out.

Last edited by siddartha : 30th January 2009 at 16:24.
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Old 30th January 2009, 16:29   #7
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A petrol bunk cannot refuse you the right to check the quality/ quantity of fuel.

During my last ride, inside Anantapur at a HP bunk they filled anout 12.13 L in my 13.5 Liters that had not yet reached reserve.

I asked and got a 1 L can from them for verification.
The quantity dispensed was correct.

Jaago Grahak Jaago.
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Old 30th January 2009, 16:57   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dushmish View Post
X-tra Premium is what Iceberg likes.
Iceberg drank a brimful of turbojet and we moved on. Got 19.2 kmpl on way back
Have you ever tried checking average using normal diesel? I was so convinced about X-traMile for my Acceent Viva CRDi, I'd often travel an extra few kilometres to fill only that from a specific pump. Till I got sludge in my tank and the fuel pump choked up and died on me. After a major exercise of cleaning the tank up, on Hyundai Motor Plaza's advice (and very grudgingly against my own conviction), I filled normal diesel - and actually got a boost of 1 - 1.5 km/l over the average I used to get with X-traMile. It's been 30,000 km after that, and I checked for sludge again inside the tank yesterday. Clean as a whistle. Been saving Rs.2/litre ever since (the last one year), plus the added benefit of extra distance travelled per tankful.
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Old 30th January 2009, 17:17   #9
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In the city limit (Mumbai) I fill up at the direct outlet of HP which is adjacent to their refinery as they get piped fuel and not through tankers. This is not a guarantee but psychological peace of mind.

Otherwise on Highways I always smell the diesel for kerosene. Its not hard to distinguish the smell.

Also I look for truckers because they are very strict about their fuel quality as they are always overloaded on underpowered trucks.
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Old 30th January 2009, 17:25   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tazmaan View Post
Otherwise on Highways I always smell the diesel for kerosene. Its not hard to distinguish the smell.
Not easy when the adulterant is naphtha.
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Old 30th January 2009, 17:41   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
A petrol bunk cannot refuse you the right to check the quality/ quantity of fuel.
bblost, they dont refuse point blank but make you wait. Delay tactics. Manager is here and similar stuff. Thats why I moved on. Some of them were very creeky kinds. No paved area, dusty environs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siddartha View Post
measure specific gravity of diesel sample using a hydrometer , note ambient temperature, based on these two parameters calculate density of diesel sample and compare value with any available reference(table /chart or hand book) .
Hey Siddhartha! thats what exactly I want to know, how does one calculate the density with the temp and specific gravity reading?

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
I filled normal diesel - and actually got a boost of 1 - 1.5 km/l over the average I used to get with X-traMile.
Thanks SS-Traveller! Thats some good advice. Do others have similar experience? Vikram? Jaggu (if you are reading this)? By the way, I had checked with Maruti Suzuki and they dont recommend premium fuels (petrol or diesel). I still continued to fill it. Maybe I will change now.

Hi. I have managed a petrol pump and will try and explain how to check the quality of diesel. Unfortunately, the only way of testing diesel at the pump is by checking the specific gravity. When the truck is loaded with diesel from the refinery/distribution center, the oil company will check and mention the specific gravity of fuel loaded in the bill to the dealer. This SG is checked again by the dealer at unloading time and compared with the billed SG. It is mandatory to display the SG of the fuel in the stock somewhere at the dealer premises. A sealed sample is taken by the dealer at the time of unloading and kept at the office for future reference. If you want to to check the quality of the fuel, you need to dispense some into a glass jar and check with a hydrometer and compare it with the displayed/billed specific gravity. Any adulteration will change the SG of the fuel. Water will not affect it because it is always layered at the bottom of the tank and not mixed with the fuel and its no excuse. Here, its not as straight forward, because the temperature of the fuel stored in the underground tank may change during the day which will affect the SG. Hence the oil company has supplied to every dealer a reference chart indicating the effect of changes in SG by a given temperature. It is confusing for an average person, but as far as i know there is no other way to check quality of diesel at the petrol pump.

To make sure you get the best fuel in town, follow the auto rickshaw guys. They crowd around the good pumps and they know thier vehicles inside out. Any changes in smell of the petrol or the sound/exhaust of thier engines will attract thier attention. They always fill in small sample quantities and they'll know even the smallest change in fuel economy (which means a difference in dispensed quantity).

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Last edited by Jaggu : 30th January 2009 at 17:58.
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Old 30th January 2009, 17:42   #12
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Dushmish, the process followed by you and mentioned by Siddhartha is the correct procedure. If there is Kerosone mixed in the diesel then it's specific gravity will drop for any given temperature.
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Old 30th January 2009, 17:44   #13
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@SS-Traveller - the Accent crdi engine has a birth right to fail at 60-70K kms; going by other posts on this forum. Are you sure your fuel injection failed purely due to bad fuel? Or is the accent and "accent viva" have different engines?
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Old 30th January 2009, 18:27   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
Are you sure your fuel injection failed purely due to bad fuel? Or is the accent and "accent viva" have different engines?
My fuel injection system is just fine, thank you. Never heard of any other Accent CRDi engine failing either (except from sheer misuse - such as no servicing / oil changes for 20k km or more), not the least at 65-70k km. Hyundai service people don't say so either - Hyundai Motor Plaza (the Co. owned service centre in Delhi) does not report any such statistics either, and I have been fortunate enough to have some very good friends in there. The fuel pump failure I mentioned is of the one inside the tank, which pumps diesel at low pressure forwards to the high-pressure diesel pump attached to the engine. It was subsequently replaced under warranty. My current odo reading is 88+k km, and there's no problem as yet.
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Old 30th January 2009, 18:53   #15
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Originally Posted by dushmish View Post

To make sure you get the best fuel in town, follow the auto rickshaw guys. They crowd around the good pumps and they know thier vehicles inside out. Any changes in smell of the petrol or the sound/exhaust of thier engines will attract thier attention. They always fill in small sample quantities and they'll know even the smallest change in fuel economy (which means a difference in dispensed quantity).
I'd find it very difficult to believe this. Most ricks I'v seen in the past and now are typical smoke bombs (2 strokers). Its pretty apparent they don't use good petrol. I have heard they mix petrol and kerosene!! Nor have I seen many ricks that are well maintained. I dont think most of them know their vehicles "inside out". There would be exceptions though...

Whats more, I'v seen most bunks have seperate lines for ricks. Since rick drivers can be expected to be much more finicky about fuel efficiency, it could be that the dispenser they use for them might have good quality fuel and right quantity. Cant say for sure about other dispensers.
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